Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), passed the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act (H.R. 850).  Aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, the legislation passed unanimously.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced in February by Chairman Royce and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member.  With 338 cosponsors, H.R. 850 broadens economic sanctions, strengthens human rights sanctions, and increases oversight of the implementation and enforcement of existing sanctions.

[A summary of the Committee action, including text of all amendments adopted, will be posted HERE this afternoon.]

Chairman Royce on the bill’s passage: “Without question, as long as Iran is determined to keep its centrifuges spinning and its nuclear program advancing, we are prepared to increase the costs to the regime of doing so.  While Tehran stonewalls international inspectors, their total number of installed centrifuges has increased by 85 percent since October 2011.  The bipartisan legislation this committee passed today is the strong action we need to cripple this regime and prevent a nuclear Tehran.  Ranking Member Engel and I are united, along with more than 338 other House Members, on this effort.”

Ranking Member Engel on the bill’s passage: “Today’s bipartisan passage of the strongest-ever sanctions leveled at Iran’s nuclear weapons program should send a loud and clear message to Tehran – give up your nuclear weapons program now, or face uncompromising pressure from the United States Congress. This bill will cut Iran’s oil exports by another million barrels a day, a reduction of two-thirds from Iran’s current exports.

H.R. 850, as amended:

Ø  Stiffens penalties for human rights violators by applying the financial sector sanctions in existing law to transactions involving:

  • human rights violators
  • persons transferring technologies to Iran that are likely to be used to commit human rights abuses
  • persons who engage in censorship or related activities against citizens of Iran, corrupt officials that confiscate humanitarian and other goods for their own benefit, and
  • persons exporting sensitive technology to Iran.

Ø  Strengthens existing sanctions by compelling countries that are currently purchasing crude oil from Iran to reduce their combined purchases of Iranian crude oil by a total of 1,000,000 barrels per day within a year.  By taking 1,000,000 barrels per day of Iranian crude oil off of the market within a year (with safeguards to ensure that international oil markets can withstand such a reduction), the Iranian regime would continue to lose the long-term funding that it requires to pay for its nuclear program, ballistic missiles, and sponsorship of terrorism.

Ø  Penalizes foreign persons who engage in significant commercial trade with Iran.  This would use the same model – targeting transactions through the Central Bank or a designated Iranian bank – that has successfully curtailed Iran’s oil trade over the past year.

Ø  Expands the list of sectors of the Iranian economy effectively blacklisted, and provide the President the tools to add additional sectors of strategic importance to the government of Iran.

Ø  Limits Iran’s access to overseas foreign currency reserves and impose additional shipping sanctions to limit the ability of the regime to engage in international commerce.

Ø  Requires that the Administration produce annually a national strategy on Iran highlighting Iranian capabilities and key vulnerabilities that the United States may exploit, providing the United States Government a roadmap as to how to effectively address the Iranian threat.